Our weekly Readers’ Letters page, now published online and in print.
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• Upset at report on school inspection
I was disgusted at your biased and negative report on the Ofsted inspection of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School. As chairman of the board of governors, I was present at meetings with the Ofsted inspectors and I was present at the summing-up meeting at the end of the inspection when pupils, leaders and governors were praised, and we are well satisfied with the results.
We can always improve, but so can every school in the land. You as a major Anglo-Jewish newspaper should shout from the rooftops that here we have a Jewish Orthodox school which was announced as outstanding in discipline, behaviour and safety and which provides a good well-balanced education. In this day and age, when so many Jewish and non-Jewish schools have been failed, we have a lot to be proud of and we will strive to get even better results in the future.
Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School
• Wider impact of plans for gcses
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan suggests that the religious education GCSE exam should include two or three religions to give pupils a wider perspective. This may sound reasonable to some, but it is counter-productive, to the extent that it may expand the so-called Trojan Horse with full government support. About 80 percent of British citizens are broadly Christian in their background and heritage, but many lack a solid understanding of British Christian values.
Studying these values at GCSE helps transmit them to the next generation. If schools must teach two religions, most will be encouraged to teach Islam as the second religion in Christian schools, helping to spread it and opening the door for Islamic religious teachers in Christian schools – cutting in half the limited time allowed for RE. Many Jewish schools will have to drop RE for GCSE and spend more time on classical Biblical Hebrew studies. There are only so many hours in the school day and you can’t cut in half or thirds the limited time allowed for religious education. I hope the government will look at the wider impact of this proposal.
• Rabbi is wrong on global warming
While I absolutely agree with Rabbi Paul Freedman that we should try to conserve energy and create a greener world for the next generation to inherit (Jewish News, 18 September), I do not think one needs to have a scientific background to take an informed view on the causes of climate change. Or, indeed, that if more MPs had science degrees their views on global warming would be any different. Since we emerged from the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago, temperatures have been though many significant swings.
Humans are responsible for only 3.2 percent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is miniscule in comparison to that produced by natural sources such as volcanic emissions, decaying vegetation, bacteria and the ocean. Scientists state that a rise in temperature is expected, due to anthropogenic global warming, and then adapt their hypotheses to try to show that unusually cold winters, tsunamis, floods or droughts are all equally consistent with their theories. I do have a scientific background, but do not accept there is any conclusive evidence for man-made global warming.
• Honest debate on the roots of hate
It is worrying that Fiyaz Mughal, head of an anti-racist organisation, presumes that British Jews have been targeted “because of the actions of Israel” (Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia threaten both our communities, Jewish News, 24 September). In the past, racists have accused and attacked Jews using a variety of reasons as their cover. Their latest cover is Israel. Mughal states he wants to have “honest conversations”. That would be a good place to start.
• Double standards in Iraq and israel
As Britain joins the bombing of terrorist strongholds in Iraq, will the BBC follow the same pattern of reporting as it did throughout Israel’s operation in Gaza by commencing the broadcast with the number of civilians killed? Somehow I think not.
• El al can do more for the orthodox
Your writer Stephen Oryszczuk reports (Jewish News, 2 October) that after Orthodox men “caused chaos” on an El Al flight, an online petition has been launched which calls on Israel’s national airline to stop allowing the “bullying of female passengers” after the group “delayed a busy flight from New York to Israel by refusing to sit next to women”.
This is a not uncommon problem which could be solved easily if El Al gave passengers the facility, when booking, to ask not to be seated next to someone of the opposite sex. The airline must have a fair idea how many such people are on any flight and could easily make this option available. That it does not might be seen as showing it is prepared to disregard the feelings of Orthodox men who, based on their understanding of the requirements of Jewish law, do not wish to sit next to women – a shocking example of intolerance unworthy of Israel’s national airline.
Martin D. Stern,
• A cacophony of academic ‘thugs’
Your article about an open letter signed by what were termed “leading thinkers” from Cambridge University attacking Israel proves the phrase “British intelligentsia” is an intellectual and moral oxymoron. The perversion and twisting of reality and logic along with the defence, justification and approval of Hamas genocide and evil shows that a degree from Cambridge is a fraud. Its graduates should sue to have returned the money they paid for their so-called “education”.
It is typical of such individuals that they find criticism of their views an affront to their academic freedom and persecution of themselves and those who hold similar views. They go even further into moral cancer when they deny Israeli Jews the right to prevent themselves being murdered by Arabs. Anyone who takes these apologists for racism and murder seriously is more foolish then they are. These individuals, and those that think like them, are intellectually and morally retarded academic thugs. They are as complicit in Hamas’ crimes against humanity as academics who were “leading thinkers” in Nazi Germany were in Nazi crimes. Britain is in real trouble if this is the quality of its academicians.
Dr Levi Sokolic,
I read with interest the coverage of the open letter that these Cambridge academics wrote “blasting Israel for the action that it took in defending itself”. I think that I have missed something but are these the same academics/thinkers who wrote an open letter to various newspapers condemning Syria for the bombing and murder of tens of thousands of innocent children, men and women? Oh, no, they didn’t. There seems to a rule for one and a rule for Israel.